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About smitty78

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  1. smitty78

    WTB Mulberry Leaves

    Is there anything special you do with the leaves like boil or sun dry? I ask because we have several mulberry trees on our property and have read that people feed these to shrimps. The leaves are just now starting to appear here. I know the squirrels always go nuts for the mulberries when they start to ripen. I also have a huge pear tree too and it's full of leaves now. Are these leaves beneficial as well? All trees have never seen pesticides and are 100% organic.
  2. smitty78

    TDS Killing Shrimp?

    Would it happen to be ohko (dragon stone)? If so, you should be fine there. If it's something like seirya stone, I would remove it.
  3. Yeah, it's got to be the substrate. It's the only thing in there besides lava rocks with moss attached and some spiderwood. I don't have enough plants to where they would be responsible for such consumption of cal/mag. Not to mention I barely have 20-30 PAR at the substrate level. The mesh bag of peat couldn't have been more than a couple tbsp worth, so I'm ruling that out now. After a little digging around, seems others have had similar experiences with Stratum, just not as extreme as my case. I think they were seeing a drop of 1 or 2 degrees, which isn't terrible but 4 degrees is very concerning. I had a little remineralized water left from where I filled the tank up and decided to check the GH of that. It was right around 6 degrees. The good news is, it will eventually lose all it's ability to absorb these minerals. How long this will take is what I'm concerned with. I can deal for a week or two but any longer and I'm going to have to make a switch. I can't keep adding salts everyday to counter this effect, not to mention the constant testing. I don't have the time or patience for that. I thought this stuff had a relatively low CEC rating? It's not calcined clay for goodness sake.
  4. Ok, thanks. I'll try not to worry over pH. It's never been a concern for me in my other planted tanks but after reading about how sensitive TBs are, I started to second guess everything. The issue with the GH is the substrate keeps sucking it up. My tds is around 180 ppm right now. I've been using the "drop" spoon to add GH+ to the HOB filter every few hours. My tds goes up about 10 ppm each dose. I still haven't got a GH of 4 yet but I'm working on it. I don't want to shift water parameters too much too soon. I might do a 25% WC tomorrow evening and re-mineralize @ 150 ppm and see where that gets me. I have lots of aeration going on between a small HOB, a double sponge filter and a small in-tank filter with a spray bar that sits above water line and cascades down. Maybe I could lose a filter or two and that will drop the pH where I want it. haha Yeah, I will definitely buy better substrate from now on. The shrimp already arrived as of Friday. They seem to be adjusting well. They are constantly grazing and I can still count all 13 of them, so that's good news. I haven't fed them anything yet because they seem content eating off driftwood and filter sponges. This tank is nearly 8 weeks old and it's been cycled a few weeks now. I'll more than likely move these shrimps to another tank with better buffering substrate and just use this tank for neos. It seem this substrate is a better fit for them anyways.
  5. Peat was a bust. I managed to get the pH down to 6.3 for the last few days but went to check my GH and it was at 2 dGH with a TDS of 140. WTF? I had re-mineralized my r/o water with SS GH+ to reach about 150 tds to match the water in the bag the shrimp were shipped in. That put my GH around 6, two days ago. I'm not certain that the use of peat is the sole culprit but I read that peat acts a de-ionizer for magnesium and calcium, much like fluval stratum. If that's the case, how am I supposed to keep my GH between 4-5 for healthy molting, without raising tds past 200 or so? I'm worried that the substrate might continue to adsorb my GH cal/mag over the next few days. I did ditch the peat bag in the HOB. My pH will most likely climb back up to 6.7 because that's where it seems to want to settle. How are people having success with this substrate? I'm confused. I still feel like I can get more consistency using CO2 to target optimal pH range than I can with peat granules. Carbonic acid won't rob my tank of GH either. It's the pH swings and poor aeration that seem to wipe out shrimp, from my understanding. A steady 15 ppm of CO2 24/7 is what I will do, despite the "taboo". I just need to build up to it sloooowly. That still only solves the issue with my pH. Not sure what to do about GH. Right now, I'm slowly changing out water with re-mineralized water to get GH to around 3-4 dGH. This is a huge pain. Shrimpin' ain't easy.
  6. Thanks for the tip. I'll be mindful of that.
  7. Thanks. I was thing about grabbing some almond leaves to use as well. I agree with r/o unit. I wouldn't even attempt to keep TBs without one. I plan to use salty shrimp GH+ to re-mineralize to 4-5 dGH.
  8. I have only done one large water change since I started this tank and I originally used tap water and a sprinkle of baking soda every now and then to keep KH up to help speed up cycling. Apparently, there was still some carbonates in the water (1-2 dKH). I just did a 90% water change not long ago with r/o water and now it appears to be around the 6.4 range. I'm just using API pH test so it's hard to get any kind of accuracy with these kits. I ordered a pH pen a few days ago, so I'll have a better idea when that arrives.
  9. Awesome. This idea seems like a no brainer to me, especially as inexpensive as they are. I'm surprised you don't hear of more people using these on the forums. Thanks a bunch!
  10. Ok, thanks. I was worried about the ammonia leeching, tbh. If it's not an issue with the other soils you recommended, I'll look into those. One other thought I had, since I'm not so far off ideal pH range of bees is the use of peat pellets in a small HOB filter. Would that be a viable way to lower my pH a few tenths of a point?
  11. Thanks for responding, wyzazz. The tank is still somewhat new (7 weeks) and has no fish or shrimp in there. I cycled it like I did with my fish tanks by using pure ammonia and a temporary "seeded" HOB running on it. Tank has shown no signs of ammonia or nitrites in weeks... just nitrate. I did a water change after the API nitrate test was reddish orange. I haven't done much else since. I have never used a HOB breeder box, though. It looks interesting. So I just run another air line off my pump manifold to the breeder box and it aerates the water inside or does it slowly siphon water from your tank into it? You mentioned you dripped your tank water into the box, did you use a separate airline tube for this? Please forgive my ignorance.
  12. I would rather not change substrate since this stuff has been through almost 2 months cycling. I will keep that in mind for the future, though. Maybe I could cap this substrate with an inch or so of another substrate? So a low flow of CO2 to reach 10-15 ppm would be bad for bees?
  13. So a quarantine tank is recommended? Wouldn't it need to be cycled as well? I doubt I could have one established before they arrive unless they take weeks to ship. If I get my parameters to match their tank water, wouldn't there still be a rise in pH after I opened the bag or is this just an issue with fish? I think I read something about this elsewhere.
  14. Title pretty much says it all. Awaiting bee shrimp from Flip Aquatics and wanted to know if there was anything I should know before tossing them in my tank? They have a youtube channel but I didn't see anything about acclimating shrimp on there. Do I just float the bag for awhile, then drop them right in? How do you guys do it?
  15. Hello, new guy here. I was wondering if I could run a steady but slow flow of CO2 to help keep pH in the right range for keeping taiwan bees. I plan to run it all day, every day. Right now the soil has been cycling for almost 7 weeks and it's pH is steady at 6.7 thanks to the Fluval Statum but I can't get it any lower. Tank is a 15 gallon with double sponge filter and lots of moss. I know that I probably should have went for tiger shrimp instead but I couldn't resist these adorable little bees. I went ahead and purchased a dozen on an impulse buy. I hope I didn't make a mistake. Do you think they will breed in this substrate? Is there a better way to lower pH? Thanks.